Community involvment report 2013

All the protagonists of this year`s stories are people who proved that IT CAN BE DONE! And people who transformed their daring plans into impactful projects.

We invite you to discover their stories, to team up with them and to become one of the collective author to the common good, through your recommendations and encouragement!

The importance of entrepreneurship for NGOs

Step out of your comfort zone! Deliver quality products which you have tested beforehand! Sell as much as possible in order to generate more cash for future projects!

These are only some of the pieces of advice offered to nongovernmental organisations by Zoltan Berezcki, Business Development Manager within NESsT. Last year, NESsT became Petrom’s strategic partner in the social business competition "Made in Andrei’s Country".

As an international organisation, we started developing these social businesses already in 2007. We contacted Petrom somewhere in 2012. It was a natural discussion, as they were interested in how they could help Petrom communities to create sustainable projects, that deliver sustainable benefits even after the funding comes to an end”, says Zoltan Berezcki.

The results obtained within the social business competition “Made in Andrei’s Country” matched the invested efforts: over 500 applications with social business ideas were submitted, out of which the jury selected 20. Business plans were developed for these 20 selected projects for eight months, at the end of which 10 benefited from grants up to 32,000 euro each.

In November 2013, the winners started receiving money and business development consultancy. There are people even from OMV and Petrom management involved in mentoring and supporting these social businesses. We were happy to see that, in addition to the grants, they also invest other resources: their pool of social contacts, aids, facilitation of sales contacts”, explains Zoltan Berezcki.

According to a survey carried out among NGOs representative at national level (Cult Market Research, 2014), 95% of the respondents state that the development of social enterprises in Romania would help support social causes, while 90% consider that social entrepreneurship is a development opportunity.

Zoltan Berezcki believes that applying entrepreneurial principles in the nongovernmental organisations’ activity is a key success factor and may represent one of the best development directions.

Importanța antreprenoriatului pentru ONG-uri

Here are some tips he offers to NGOs so that they can etc”, apoi mutati textul pe coloana din dreapta.

  • 1. They need to step out of their organisational comfort zone and develop certain entrepreneurial skills they don’t normally have: generally, they don’t know how to sell, they don’t know how to negotiate, especially after they start up the business; they focus a lot on the social dimension, which is good from the point of view of the message, but at the same time they cannot properly handle the communication with the customers.
  • 2. They should develop high quality products, especially when they have a social message or label. Many customers are not that sensitive to the social message or, even if they are, they are still looking for quality. They should try to place themselves more in the consumers’ shoes, even if they deliver a social product.
  • 3. They should test the product before going into large scale production, connect with a group of consumers, and research the market to some extent in order to validate their assumptions.
  • 4. They should try to change their revenues mix, so that most of it should come from sales and only the rest from in-kind and in-cash contributions from various funders.
  • 5. They should try to sell as much as possible, as they would thus become more accountable towards their own beneficiaries, i.e. their employees If the funding comes to an end and the business is not sustainable, they will have to lay off their employees.
Lăcrămioara Botezatu

Lăcrămioara Botezatu

Project Manager

Advice about entrepreneurship for NGOs, coming from a very NGO, is welcome, due to its expertise in a similar field of activity. Most NGOs should apply entrepreneurial principles to their action plans, in order to develop and become sustainable. This is because NGOs have the organizational power to catalyze community pursuits, transforming the skills of its members into truly sustainable businesses. This paves the way to long-term change.